2/2/2016: Update on Preparations for the 2016 General Elections

Progress of Campaigns

Campaign meetings/rallies organized by candidates contesting for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Councils Elections are going on in various electoral areas across the country. The Electoral Commission appreciates the peaceful manner in which the campaign meetings have been held. 

As the campaign period enters into the final days, the Electoral Commission calls on all stakeholders in the electoral process, and particularly the candidates, to promote peace and tolerance and to desist from using any language that may cause fear or create tension in the public.

The need for peaceful conditions during elections is paramount, and we cannot emphasise this enough. The Commission wishes to assure members of the public and all stakeholders that adequate arrangements have been made to secure the electoral environment. We wish to appreciate the effort of the Uganda Police Force for provision of security during this period.

Progress of Printing and Delivery of Ballot Papers

The exercise of printing of the ballot papers for the 2016 General Elections is progressing as per the planned schedule for printing and delivery for further handling (packing and dispatch to polling stations).

On Thursday 28th January 2016, the Electoral Commission received the consignment of ballot papers for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, which were printed in South Africa.

The first consignment of 361 pallets, comprising ballot papers for Local Government Councils Elections is scheduled for arrival at Entebbe International Airport, today, Tuesday 2nd February 2016, at 4:00pm local time.

The consignment contains ballot papers for elections of District Chairpersons, District Directly-elected Councillors and Sub County Women Councillors. The Electoral Commission will provide more details on these deliveries later today.

The Electoral Commission invites accredited observers, including the media, to witness the receiving of ballot papers at the airport and the other handling stages.

The Electoral Commission however, wishes to dismiss as utterly false, the reports by some sections of the media and particularly social media, which allege that the airplane carrying the ballot papers from South Africa, first made a detour to a neighbouring country, where some ballot papers were off loaded, before coming to Entebbe and delivering the rest of the consignment.

 

This allegation is utterly baseless and false, and the Commission invites all responsible Ugandans to condemn such claims in the strongest terms possible.

The airway bill issued by the carrier (Ethiopian Airlines) clearly indicates the route followed by the airplane, with the airport of departure as OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa, and the airport of destination as Entebbe International Airport, Uganda.

The Electoral Commission received the ballot papers in the specified quantities and qualities. For avoidance of doubt, a total of 15,987,800 ballot papers were delivered for Presidential Elections.

The above also answers related wild allegations that the Electoral Commission does not know the exact number of ballot papers that were delivered on Thursday 28th January 2016.

The Electoral Commission wishes to assure all stakeholders that all processes related to preparation of ballot papers for the upcoming elections, namely, design, printing, delivery and storage have been handled with utmost integrity. Subsequent handling, namely packing and dispatch to the districts will follow similar strict quality control processes.

 

The Commission further wishes to state that we will not allow anyone to distract us from our work, which is to organize, conduct and supervise the elections, in accordance with the electoral laws.

Biometric Voter Verification System (BVVS)

As you are aware, on 30th January 2015, the Electoral Commission conducted a public demonstration of the Biometric Voter Verification System in all the districts of Uganda. 

The Electoral Commission wishes to report that the demonstration, which was conducted at Electoral Commission District Offices, was successful, and members of the public were able to interact with the verification kit, and appreciate its function.

The Commission wishes to appreciate all the stakeholders who turned up in high numbers to participate in the demonstration exercise.

However, in order to give opportunity to more stakeholders to interact with the verification system, the Electoral Commission will conduct a similar exercise on Saturday 6th February 2016, at each district head office, starting at 7 am until 4pm.

The Commission particularly urges candidates and their agents, to participate in this public demonstration, so that they learn more about the operations of the system, in order to make maximum use of the same on polling day.

 

Eng. Dr. Badru M. Kiggundu

Chairperson, Electoral Commission

Wednesday, February 3, 2016